8 May 2018

Unitary Patent Update

The UK has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement, which means that, until BREXIT at least, the UK intends to be part of the Unitary Patent system. When it comes into operation, the system will provide a single, unitary patent right covering all members of the European Union, with issues of validity and infringement being heard before a single Unified Patent Court.

This development means that the only country now required to ratify the Agreement before the system comes into operation is Germany. However, there is currently a challenge before the Federal Constitutional Court, so the timing is uncertain.

The impact of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU on 30 March 2019, including the agreed transition period until 31 December 2020, is also unclear. Post-BREXIT, it seems difficult to see how an EU Unitary Patent can cover the UK, but the UK may still be able to participate in the Unitary Patent Court, subject to agreement with the EU27 countries.

We are keeping an eye on developments.